College of Community Health Sciences

The primary responsibility of the educational programs of the College of Community Health Sciences is to contribute to the improvement of health care in Alabama, emphasizing small towns and rural areas. The programs of the College are designed to increase the accessibility and availability of healthcare and to improve its quality through research, education and service.

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The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa also functions as a regional campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM), providing the clinical years of education to a portion of UASOM medical students. All medical students complete their first and second years at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham and their third and fourth years at any one of UASOM’s four campuses – Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Montgomery. Upon completion of all four years of medical school, students are awarded the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from The University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Medical students completing their clinical years at the Tuscaloosa campus form long-term learning relationships with experienced, practicing physicians and mentors and provide comprehensive care of patients over time and through different points in their health care journey. A portion of third year clinical rotations are integrated to allow for continuity of patient care. Additionally, students receive elective credit through a unique course that integrates their daily clinical experiences with physician leadership, population medicine and health policy.

The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College of Community Health Sciences, was founded in 1973 and today is among the oldest and largest such residencies in the country. Through the educational programs of the residency, the College fosters the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create outstanding physicians capable of providing high-quality, continuing, comprehensive and patient-centered care. Through its residency, the College also offers fellowship programs for family medicine physicians in obstetrics, hospital medicine, geriatrics, sports medicine, behavioral health and rural public psychiatry.


A primary responsibility of the College of Community Health Sciences is to contribute to the improvement of the health of Alabama, with an emphasis on small towns, rural communities and other underserved populations. The educational programs of the College are designed to increase the physician workforce, the availability and accessibility of health care and to improve its quality.

The College:

  • Provides the clinical years of medical education and training (third and fourth years) for a portion of medical students enrolled at UASOM.
  • Operates a Family Medicine Residency.
  • Works with UASOM to integrate medical education programs with non-medical aspects of health care delivery.
  • Provides training sites and internships for students in nursing, social work, pharmacy, clinical dietetics, health education and health care management.
  • Offers shadowing and scribe opportunities for pre-med students
  • Makes available expertise in medical and health sciences to undergraduate and graduate education programs at The University of Alabama, and offers courses in medicine and health sciences to enrich University students’ education by relating it to health, health care and the healthcare delivery system.


Administrative Officers
  • Richard Streiffer, MD, Dean
  • Harriet H. Myers, PhD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education
  • John C. Higginbotham, PhD., Associate Dean for Research
  • Thomas Weida, MD, Chief Medical Officer
  • David Nichols, Chief Operating Officer
  • Allison H. Arendale, Chief Financial Officer
  • Brook Hubner, Senior Registrar Program Director, Medical Education
Department Chairs
  • John C. Higginbotham, PhD, Community Rural Medicine
  • Ricky Friend, MD, Family Medicine (interim)
  • Scott Arnold, MD, Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Karen Burgess, MD, Pediatrics
  • Thaddeus Ulzen, MD, Psychiatry Behavioral Medicine
  • Joseph C. Wallace, MD, Surgery
  • Scott Arnold, MD
  • Daniel Avery, MD
  • Alan Blum, MD
  • Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD
  • Karen Burgess, MD
  • Jennifer Clem, MD
  • Sandra Daley, MD
  • Jared S. Ellis, MD
  • Tamer Elsayed, MD
  • Ashley Evans, MD
  • Pamela Foster, MD, MPH
  • Richard Friend, MD
  • H. Joseph Fritz, MD
  • Scott Fulgham, MD
  • Brian Gannon, MD
  • Marisa Giggie, MD, MPA
  • Kristine Graettinger, MD
  • Susan Guin, MSN, CRNP
  • Anne Halli-Tierney, MD
  • Andrew Harrell, MD
  • Drake Lavender, MD
  • James Leeper, PhD
  • John McDonald, MD
  • Jerry McNight, MD
  • John Miller, MD
  • Harriet Myers, MD
  • William Owings, MD
  • Stretch Reed, MD
  • James Robinson, MD, Endowed Chair
  • Nancy Rubin, PsyD
  • Cathie Scarbrough, MD
  • Robert Sheppard, MD
  • Catherine Skinner, MD
  • Robert Slaughter, MD
  • Elizabeth Smith, CRNP
  • Grier Stewart, MD
  • Richard Streiffer, MD
  • Heather Taylor, MD
  • Cynthia Tyler, MSW
  • Melanie Tucker, PhD
  • Thaddeus Ulzen, MD, FRCP(C), DFAPA
  • Joseph Wallace, MD
  • John Warren, MD
  • Lloyda Williamson, MD, DFAPA
  • John R. Wheat, MD
  • Nelle Williams
  • Lea Yerby, PhD